The cobbled courtyard entrance to Pousada de Cascais, lined with studios and art galleries, is the center of the hotel’s arts district.
The hotel’s heritage is mixed with a modern architectural restoration.
Arrival at Pousada de Cascais is through the 16th-century archway of the fortress.
After a 20-minute taxi ride from Lisbon Airport, I arrived at the quaint historic town of Cascais. Once a fishing village and quiet summer retreat for the Portuguese royal family, Cascais has become a cultural destination for European jet-setters and celebrities. Located on the Atlantic coastline beneath the Sintra mountain range — where there’s a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site — Cascais is the perfect combination of ocean scenery, lush mountains, golf courses and culture.
I stayed at the Pousada de Cascais, Cidadela Historic Hotel & Arts District. The hotel, classified as a national monument, was once a 16th-century fortress built to defend the coast from pirates and enemy attacks. Today the fort, set above the Marina of Cascais, is a hotel within an arts district — a new concept, and the first in Europe.
Open art studios and galleries surround the hotel’s cobbled courtyard. All are for the use of residing artists, and an on-site art concierge educates visitors about the local talent.
The modern design balances the heritage of the fort perfectly. Guest rooms juxtapose the ancient and contemporary, with modern furniture contrasting with 16th-century fort walls and a balcony offering stunning views of the Marina of Cascais and the Atlantic Ocean. Rooms start at $225.